LeBron James became only the second player in NBA history to score more than 38,000 career points on Sunday but his Los Angeles Lakers fell to a third straight defeat with a 113-112 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
James is now second only to fellow Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record of 38,387 points on the NBA’s all-time career scoring list and he is expected to surpass that total in the coming weeks.
James put up 35 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for the Lakers, passing the 38,000-mark in the first quarter, and his achievement was acknowledged by the crowd and players.
But after the game ended in defeat for the Lakers, with Joel Embiid getting 35 points and 11 rebounds for the 76ers, James was in no mood to reflect on his personal milestone.
Asked whether he had thoughts on the achievement he replied simply in the negative and chose to reflect on his team’s disappointing form.
“It’s just frustrating to get into those positions and not come out with a victory,” said James.
Russell Westbrook was unable to make a play in the final seconds of the game for the Lakers.
“We got a stop, gave ourselves a chance to win the game and didn’t,” he said.
Nikola Vucevic produced a 43-point masterpiece as the Chicago Bulls overpowered the slumping NBA champion Golden State Warriors 132-118 on Sunday
Montenegrin star Vucevic bagged his ninth straight double-double after stepping up in the absence of injured DeMar DeRozan to help the Bulls snap a three-game losing streak at Chicago’s United Center.
Vucevic’s performance was the centerpiece of a balanced all-round offensive display by Chicago, who saw six players finish with double-digit points tallies.
Zach LaVine added 27 points while Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu had 12 points apiece. Coby White added 15 from the bench.
“I got going really early,” said Vucevic after going 18-for-31 from the field with five three-pointers. “It’s hard to explain. You just get this feeling within yourself that it’s kinda gonna be your night and you just play.
“We really moved the ball. We really played aggressively offensively and I was able to get into my spots.”
The victory was the perfect tonic for the Bulls (20-24) as they now head to Paris next week for a regular season fixture against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday.
But the loss was another alarm bell for the struggling Warriors, the reigning NBA champions who are in eighth place in the Western Conference standings with a 21-22 record.
Klay Thompson led the Golden State scoring with 26 points but the Warriors were left counting the cost of 23 turnovers.
“We’re having trouble stacking good decision upon good decision,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
“You can make all kinds of excuses but it doesn’t matter,” Kerr added. “Everybody’s got excuses, everyone’s got injuries with guys in and out of the rotation. We just got to do better.”
The Western Conference leading Denver Nuggets beat the Orlando Magic 119-116 with Nikola Jokic getting the deciding three-pointer with 1.2 seconds left.
Jokic produced his 12th triple double of the season with 17 points, ten rebounds and 14 assists.
Julius Randle scored a season-high 42 points as the New York Knicks bagged their third straight victory with a 117-104 defeat of Detroit.
Randle also hauled in 15 rebounds while team-mate Jalen Brunson finished with 27 points in a comfortable victory for the Knicks, who are sixth in the Eastern Conference table.
Damian Lillard scored 40 points for the Portland Trail Blazers as they beat the Dallas Mavericks 140-123. Mavericks’ Slovenian star Luka Doncic was rested for the game.
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